Congratulations to Gary Pratz, Assistant Engineer/Production Manager on a wonderful career of 25 years at TBN/KNAT-TV! Happy Retirement and best wishes. From left to right: Gary Pratz, retiring Assistant Engineer, Aron Hethcox, Video Editor/Audio Engineer and Alan Castorena, Assistant Engineer/Production Supervisor 

Assistant Station Manager and on air DJ,KWRG at New Mexico State University

I had the opportunity of meeting several artists that we sponsored. With some friends we took a trip to old Mexico.

 

The following is an interview conducted by 60s Garage Bands with Asa Porter about a band I was in called the Conspiracy.

The aftershock of The Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show was long lasting.  For every professional or semi-professional band that drew inspiration by watching The Fab Four’s landmark appearance in 1964, there were countless others, years later, that drew their inspiration from that first wave of inspired groups.  Such was the case for The Conspiracy, a teen combo from Deming, New Mexico.  Like thousands other similar groups, The Conspiracy didn’t write original material, didn’t record, and primarily performed only around their hometown.  Asa Porter, lead guitarist, fills in the details…

An Interview With Asa Porter

60sgaragebands (60s): How did you first get interested in music?
Asa Porter (AP): My first interest in music was after watching The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show.

60s: Was The Conspiracy your first band? If not, which band was? How long was it together?

AP: The Sounds of Silence was my first band.  It stayed together about a year.  Conspiracy formed thereafter and was together for some time over two years.


60s: Where and when was The Conspiracy formed? AP: The Conspiracy formed in Deming, New Mexico in 1967 by several of us from other groups. Members of The Conspiracy were Pat Lundy, rhythm guitar; Bill Burt, drums; Donald Nenno, bass; Gary Pratz, keyboard; and Asa Porter, lead guitar. 

(Note: In March 2012, Donald Nenno provided some information on the early history of the group: "Originally we started out as group called BLIN, the letters of our last names--Burt, Lundy, Israel and Nenno. If my memory serves me correctly, it was an idea hatched from Pat Lundy to start a group. We did break up after high school; however Bill Burt, Gary Pratz and I did go onto NMSU. We picked up a lead guitarist and became The Community Project.)


60s: How would you describe the band's sound? What bands influenced you?

AP: Our band sound was rock and roll; current chart recordings.  Interesting enough, the greatest influence to the Conspiracy's drive, etc., didn't come from the big name groups (Stones, Who, Troggs) but rather from what I would call the semi-pro bands from Las Cruces and El Paso. The Shandells were our greatest influence, with Bob Alexander and Dennis Lucero; The Outer Limits with John Leduc (were also a big influence) and then there was The Male Box with Leduc after The Outer Limits; and The Chains.


60s: What was the Deming rock and roll scene like in the '60s?
AP: Deming, located on I-10, was a stopping place for several pro groups as well, such as 20th Century Fox and Question Mark and The Mysterians, to name a few.

60s: Where did the band typically play?

AP: The band was the "adopted" cheerleader band.  We played for several of their fundraisers as well as school functions.  We also played for dances we sponsored as well as for hired functions.

60s: Did you play any of the local teen clubs?

AP: The only teen club that I can recall by name was in Las Cruces called Noe's Place on North Main St. 

60s: How far was the band's "touring" territory?

AP: We played in a tight area.  Once in Alamogordo, Cruces, Deming and Silver City (and all in New Mexico).

60s: Did The Conspiracy participate in any battle of the bands?

AP: We played in several battle of the bands--some at the high school during pep rallies and other time on the street sponsored by the local merchants.  We seemed to fare well.  We had our music down pretty tight, and we took playing seriously...even though puberty and voice clarity were a bad combo.

60s: Did The Conspiracy have a manager?

AP: We had no manager other than some good parent participation.

60s: Did The Conspiracy write many original songs?  Who was the band's primary songwriter?

AP: The Conspiracy didn't write any music (other than our break song). 

60s: Are there any other Conspiracy recordings? Are there any vintage live recordings, or other unreleased tracks?
AP: The Conspiracy never recorded other than we were taped for Sun Cable TV when cable TV was just beginning.  A gentleman by the name of Sonny Voiers, who owned the Sun Cable franchise, recorded us and we were told it was going to show in Houston, New Orleans and Phoenix...of all places.  I don't know if any of that happened.

60s: Did the band make any local TV appearances? Does any home movie film footage exist of the band?
AP: We didn't make any TV appearances and to my knowledge there isn't any home movies remaining or made.

60s: What year and why did the band break up?

AP: The band broke up sometime in 1969 due to Gary and myself going off to college.

60s: How do you best summarize your experiences with Conspiracy?
AP: It's hard to summarize my experiences with the band other than it made enough impact on me to not only appreciate our fledgling talent but it gave me an undetachable affection for my guitar that I still have.  I play it once in a while; it's a 1967 Fender Jazzmaster.


 

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